March 22, 2010 Minutes

Minutes from PDAC Meeting
6:30-8 pm at the Pittsfield Youth Workshop
March 22nd, 2010

In attendance: Denise Morin, Dan Ward, Carol Stewart, Lori Grattage, Tammy Colby, Stephanie Lamere, Sarah Sadowski, Zach Powers, Chief Wharem, Paula Driscoll, Jeff Martel

Meeting called to order at 6:30 pm.

The goal of tonight’s meeting was to do an in-depth review of the YRBS numbers in preparation for the two community forums to be held in May. The group broke into four working groups to go over sections of the report in detail then reconvened to share insights, interesting trends, questions, etc.

I. Group 1- Carol, Sarah and Denise looked at pages 1-7. Overall impressions were that there has been positive trend with some exceptions (e.g. seatbelt use). One area of concern was that of 5.6% of Pittsfield students who did not go to school because they felt unsafe, the vast majority were females. A brief conversation about school safety ensued with Jeff and Tammy citing the general trend at the school to have girls who were more involved with fighting. Lori affirmed that the issue has gotten worse from a student perspective and will try to share the Main St. Academics data. There was also brief speculation if the trend in female safety mirrors the broader community trend the Chief pointed to: fewer fights but more serious injuries. DARE has recently changed their curriculum to deal with bullying- will be interesting to see the impact.
II. Group 2- Paula, the Chief and Tammy looked at pages 8-13. Overall, numbers for alcohol use have dropped. 30 day use is troubling and males are drinking more. Tammy pointed out that any alcohol use on school grounds is shocking and a conversation about Drake field ensued. Again, gender was discussed as the rates for female alcohol use are dropping while female rates for other substances, particularly huffing, are rising, suggesting that the female drug of choice may be shifting. Jeff pointed to the correlation between age of onset and 30 day use. The question of WHERE youth are getting substances, particularly alcohol, was of significant interest to the group. The group pointed to how Marijuana rates are down, but not much, suggesting that it is easy to get. Again, the issue of where the drug is being consumed is significant.
III. Group 3- Dan and Jeff, pages 14- 20- Data on sexual activity on page 14 reflected a positive trend (can’t use the condom data from last survey period). All PE related were positive with the exception of attending a PE class.
IV. Group 4- Zach, Lori and Steph, pages 20-27- Behavior has some positive trends and volunteering was very positive with 52% of Pittsfield youth performing community service within the last 30 days versus 39% of youth statewide. Another noteworthy statistic was 36% are involved in clubs or organizations after school. It was agreed that while Pittsfield surpassed the state average for youth who think they matter to people in their community, he positive response rate was still under 50% which bothered several members of the group. Perceptions of harm really need some attention and perception (reality?) of how easy these drugs are to obtain also needs to be examined. Zach pointed to a disconnect between perception of harm and attitudes about alcohol and cigarettes. It would be interesting to get grade level numbers especially for this type of data.

Other discussion points:

Zach: Which state numbers to use for comparison: the 33,000 included in the state tally on the Community Report, or the 1,600 state sample?
Chief: Important to remember there is a cycle of behavior within certain grades, 2007 was a challenging group whereas this year’s class is more organized and class sizes have fallen. He pointed to the efforts of the school and police in handling things differently and the impact PYW, DARE and PDAC have made.
Tammy: Better student/teacher ratios mean youth have more people to talk to.
Jeff: Also more therapists are coming into the school

Action Items:
Lori will obtain some of the Main Street Academics data to share with the group.
Sarah and Jeff will both contact Jeff Metzger to try and get grade-level data for the YRBS
There will be a planning meeting held next Monday re: the community forums

The meeting was adjourned at 8 pm.

There will be a community forum planning meeting held on March 29th at 6:15 pm at PYW. The next PDAC meeting will be held April 5th at 7pm at PYW.

Respectfully submitted,
Sarah Sadowski